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Bristol Motor Speedway opens full-service RV campground for hurricane evacuees

Becky Campbell • Sep 4, 2019 at 6:30 PM

BRISTOL — C.J. Harrington had hoped to arrive from his summer home in Massachusetts to his winter home in Melbourne, Florida, by now.

Hurricane Dorian put a halt to his travels.

His home in each location is an RV, and he sets up in a campground in each area. He left Massachusetts on Saturday, and by Monday it became clear he’d have to find somewhere to hunker down because of the weather. He was watching the Weather Channel and found out that Bristol Motor Speedway had opened up a campground for hurricane refugees.

He had to “dry camp” on Monday, but by Tuesday morning he had set up in a full-service campground near the drag strip.

“I said, ‘Who do I pay?’ ” Harrington said as he cooked bacon on a propane grill outside his RV. He was ecstatic to learn there was no charge, but he plans to pay forward BMS’ generosity by donating money to the race track’s children’s charity.

Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of BMS said it isn’t the first time the track has opened up its campgrounds for people needing to escape bad weather.

“We’re blessed to have this big, beautiful facility, and when people are in need we’re thankful to be able to offer our place and open our doors,” Caldwell said. “The people of this region are so hospitable and welcoming, and we want to do the same here at Bristol Motor Speedway and be able to showcase this region to folks that may be going through a tough time leaving their home. Let’s at least extend a hand and welcome them to our area and stay here with us for a few days.”

Caldwell said evacuees with RVs who need somewhere to go can call the BMS ticket office at (423) 989-6900. The campground has enough space for a couple of hundred RVs, Caldwell said.